Late last year, we published a series of blogs about drones, shining the light on what they are and what industries are planning their future with them. One particular blog focused on the then existing regulations for personal and commercial drones; at the time there were few rules in place for businesses wanting to start their drone strategy, since then, however, new proposals have come to light.
At the time the FAA had granted several official licenses to industries to explore the use of drones for business, however, unofficially some businesses took the risk of being possibly fined by the FAA since there were no exact rules saying the FAA needed to grant licenses or enforce existing rules. That changed in the middle of November when the National Transportation Board made a ruling that the FAA can enforce rules on drones.
Since then there has been strong speculation about the rules the FAA may propose; according to the Wall Street Journal, many of the proposed rules are much stricter than previously imagined. While some may see that having an aircraft pilot license to operate a commercial drone in order to inspect a property is somewhat overbearing, many feel that some regulation is better than nothing.
While the ruling and proposed rules took place in the last quarter, the FAA was still expected to at least have something definitive by the end of the year, however, Claims Journal via Reuters is reporting that there has been little change since the events of last year. In terms of regulation, we are still in very murky water. The only difference is that we now know that the FAA can enforce rules, whatever they may eventually be.
For now the lack of rules will continue to hold back businesses that would like to explore business opportunities in commercial drones, such as the farming and insurance industry. With the existing rules, technically only a hobbyist would be able to inspect crops, however, if the crops or farmland were commercial, then it would be considered illegal. Being able to inspect fields, homes, buildings, or catastrophic areas would be a boon for the farming and insurance industries as they would be able to save time, money, and resources.
For more on what we do know about drone regulations, view the following links: